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Designing A Good Employee Recognition Program

Updated: Aug 21



“Take charge only of your action, with no attention to the results.”

From a ‘bigger picture’ angle, one would think that this shloka from the Bhagavad Gita should work just fine for everyone. A skilled employee is always recognised. A hard worker is always rewarded. In the end.

Does it work this way?

But, what if the organisation has no way to judge, or reward, good work? What happens to focusing only on the task, then? Well, it is safe to say that said employee would move on to a place where the organisation actually has a results and rewards program in place. But, how can you build an organisation like that? What steps can you take to design a rewards program that benefits and encourages everyone to do better? Here’s how.

A Good Employee Reward Program


A good reward has two components to it:

  1. It makes the person feel good

  2. It benefits the organisation due to better employee morale

Therefore, a reward should be well thought out, be more than just formal, be given on time and be given frequently. Needless to say, a rewards program cannot be annual in nature, and must indeed be tied to specific milestones achievable throughout the year. Moreover, a rewards program goes both ways- managers recognise their team in layers, and options must be provided for the team to recognise their superiors for specific events and achievements. Such a program gives people the confidence that rewards and recognition go both ways, and must, therefore, be provided in abundance. A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Collective effort demands collective rewards.

  2. Never make formal recognition too often a thing. There’s such a thing as too much and it dilutes the impact such a program can have for those who genuinely achieve something phenomenal.

  3. An informal program is an excellent way to inspire acts of everyday excellence.

  4. Rewards can be split into categories based on frequency, team deliverables and functional aspects such as excellence in a specific function.

  5. You may choose to outsource the merchandise but the ideas still need to come from within the organisation. Do not ever opt for a standard rewards ‘package’.

Dispersing recognition is another aspect to consider. Is it just a reward mailed as a coupon, or a congratulatory note, or a bigger reward that needs to be presented physically? Is it a combination of all of these? These are some aspects to consider. Also, spare a moment to think about the formal guidelines for each reward. Setting milestones makes the process easy, but mechanical. An amorphous system can be perceived as being biased. Based on what values your company appreciates, try and drive rewards around those aspects. For example, some companies reward those who serve for five years or more, while for others, the numbers aren’t important and only outcomes are. What are you putting into your rewards mix? Tell us in the comments below.

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